Calendar Girls: Women’s History Month (Favorite Book With a Strong Female Lead)

Calendar Girl is a monthly meme now hosted by Katie@nevernotreading and Adrienne @darquedreamer

The Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event that was created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile. It was inspired by the 1961 classic song by Neil Sedaka and created to ignite fun bookish discussions among readers and bloggers.

Each month we get a new theme and choose our favorite book for the theme. The participants get to vote for their favorite.

Strong female leads – I’ve read my share, and there are loads out there to choose from.  Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games is an obvious choice, and so is Starr from The Hate U Give (my Calendar Girls selection from last month), but for different reasons.  Nemesis from S.J. Kincaid’s Diabolic series is the epitome of a strong female lead, physically, emotionally, and mentally.  The things she’s had to deal with would break most people.  The cliffhanger at the end of the second book in that series nearly broke me.

But I decided to go with a character from a book I recently finished – Rhen Tellur from To Best The Boys.  She lives in a world where girls are taught how to make good wives, rather given a traditional education and encouragement to pursue their own dreams.  Being exceptionally intelligent and gifted in science, Rhen’s says, ‘Screw that’, and makes different plans for her future.  She poses as a boy, enters an all male competition to win a scholarship, and throws society’s expectations of her right back at their faces.  Rhen doesn’t allow anyone else to dictate who she is, what her dreams should be, or how she can achieve them.  Girl power!

Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. Every year, the poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.

In the province of Caldon, where women are trained in wifely duties and men are encouraged into collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her Mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.

With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the maze.

 

Calendar Girls: Black History Month (Best Book by a Black Author)

Calendar Girl is a monthly meme now hosted by Katie@nevernotreading and Adrienne @darquedreamer

The Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event that was created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile. It was inspired by the 1961 classic song by Neil Sedaka and created to ignite fun bookish discussions among readers and bloggers.

Each month we get a new theme and choose our favorite book for the theme. The participants get to vote for their favorite.

To narrow this down, I’m sticking with YA books I’ve read in the past year.  Recently I reviewed Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (review).  I loved the zombie-added alternate history take by this author, and Jane, her intelligent, snarky protagonist stole my heart.  Pride by Ibi Zoboi is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, probably my favorite Jane Austen novel.  The modernized version of this story intrigued me – unfortunately, I only read a 5 chapter sampler, and I’ve never been able to get back to the book.  But I plan to!  Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi has received exceptional reviews.  It’s been in my TBR for a while, and I’ll be reading it for my book club in a couple of months.  If I’d had been more caught up, I’m sure it would be at the top of my list.

My choice will probably be a popular one, but The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas had such a profound effect on me.  It’s crucial, timely, powerful, honest, uncomfortable, gut-wrenching – and should be required reading.  I’m thrilled Angie Thomas will be at our local book festival in April, where I’ll be able to meet her and get a signed copy of her new book, On the Come Up.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life. 

Calendar Girls: Happy New Year (2019 Release You’re Most Looking Forward To)

Calendar Girl is a monthly meme now hosted by Katie@nevernotreading and Adrienne @darquedreamer

The Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event that was created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile. It was inspired by the 1961 classic song by Neil Sedaka and created to ignite fun bookish discussions among readers and bloggers.

Each month we get a new theme and choose our favorite book for the theme. The participants get to vote for their favorite.

The other fun piece to The Calendar Girls group is the Twitter chat. On the 3rd Sunday of each month, at 8 p.m. EST, Katie and Adrienne will host a chat with hashtag #CGBChat, where everyone can participate and gif away. They will get the ball rolling by asking a question or two about the theme or the picks of the month to get everyone chatting. The hashtag will be used in all tweets, so you can see all the fun!

This is a difficult category for me.  Not because I don’t have a release I’m looking forward to – it’s that there are so many I’m stupid excited about and can’t wait to get my greedy, impatient hands on.  For me, it’s sequels to some of my favorite YA sci-fi/fantasy series.  The Gilded Wolves #2 by Roshani Choksi, which still doesn’t have a cover or release date (although I’m hoping for late 2019).  The Diabolic #3 by S.J. Kincaid – no cover, but Goodreads lists a release date of July 2019.  The ending of The Empress (Diabolic #2) ripped my heart out, and is literally the only book I’ve ever had to put down and walk away from because of the emotions it evoked.  If I knew Six of Crows #3 by Leigh Bardugo was coming out in 2019, I’d be tempted to sell my soul to get an advance copy.  Alas, there’s no publication date or title yet.

All of these either don’t have covers or confirmed release dates, but another of my much anticipated releases does, and it’s King of Fools (The Shadow Game #2) by Amanda Foody.  The first book in this series, Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game #1) was one of my top reads last year – immersive world-building, mesmerizing, flawed, diverse characters, life or death stakes – all done masterfully.  If you’re a fan of YA fantasy, don’t miss this one.

Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all…

On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Seance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.

Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with Vianca Augustine’s estranged son. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by the mafia donna’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.

As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: To sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive…

Or die as legends.

Calendar Girls: Let It Snow (Best Book Set In Winter)

Calendar Girl is a monthly meme now hosted by Katie@nevernotreading and Adrienne @darquedreamer

The Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event that was created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile. It was inspired by the 1961 classic song by Neil Sedaka and created to ignite fun bookish discussions among readers and bloggers.

Each month we get a new theme and choose our favorite book for the theme. The participants get to vote for their favorite.

The other fun piece to The Calendar Girls group is the Twitter chat. On the 3rd Sunday of each month, at 8 p.m. EST, Katie and Adrienne will host a chat with hashtag #CGBChat, where everyone can participate and gif away. They will get the ball rolling by asking a question or two about the theme or the picks of the month to get everyone chatting. The hashtag will be used in all tweets, so you can see all the fun!

 

I’ve read tons of books set in winter, but there’s no way I’d be able to name all of them.  Many scenes in the Harry Potter series come to mind, of course, and fairly recent reads such as The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon, and The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden.

But the one that’s stuck with me all these years is The Shining (do I really need to list the author?) by Stephen King.  Of all his works, it’s easily among my favorites.  It’s the only book that’s literally given me goosebumps – and that was in the middle of summer, 90+ degrees, while lying by a pool.  The sheer volume of snow in the book plays a key role in isolating the Torrance family from help, and is as much of a character as Delbert Grady, Lloyd the bartender, the old woman in the bathtub, and the Grady daughters.  Some images from the movie are permanently embedded in my brain.

Kind of makes me want to read the book again and watch the movie.  Part two of The Shining, Doctor Sleep, will be released as a movie in 2020!

 

Calendar Girls: Not Quite The End (Favorite Middle Book in a Series)

This is a meme I saw at Adrienne’s blog and thought it looked like fun.  She invited me to join in, and even though the Neil Sedaka song was embedded in my brain and played all day, I decided to participate.  I’m pretty late getting in on this, but better late than never, right?

Calendar Girl is a monthly meme now hosted by Katie@nevernotreading and Adrienne @darquedreamer

The Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event that was created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile. It was inspired by the 1961 classic song by Neil Sedaka and created to ignite fun bookish discussions among readers and bloggers.

Each month we get a new theme and choose our favorite book for the theme. The participants get to vote for their favorite.

The other fun piece to The Calendar Girls group is the Twitter chat. On the 3rd Sunday of each month, at 8 p.m. EST, Katie and Adrienne will host a chat with hashtag #CGBChat, where everyone can participate and gif away. They will get the ball rolling by asking a question or two about the theme or the picks of the month to get everyone chatting. The hashtag will be used in all tweets, so you can see all the fun!

The first book in this series, This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada, was one of my top reads last year, and I was worried the second book wouldn’t maintain the pace and intensity of the first.  Most people are familiar with ‘Middle Book Syndrome’, and I’d been burned before when going in with high expectations.

I worried for nothing.  This Cruel Design more than delivered, and is just as addictive.  More secrets, hidden agendas, and relationship reveals – plenty of shocks and surprises along the way.  And a cliffhanger that left my mouth gaping.  The last book in the series has a lot to live up to.

Cat thought the Hydra epidemic was over, but when new cases pop up, Cat must team up with an enemy to fix the vaccine before the virus spirals out of control in this thrilling sequel to This Mortal Coil, which New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman says “redefines ‘unputdownable.’”

The nightmare of the outbreak is finally over, but Cat’s fight has only just begun.

Exhausted, wounded, and reeling from revelations that have shaken her to her core, Cat is at a breaking point. Camped in the woods with Cole and Leoben, she’s working day and night, desperate to find a way to stop Lachlan’s plan to reprogram humanity. But she’s failing—Cat can’t even control her newly regrown panel, and try as she might to ignore them, she keeps seeing glitching visions from her past everywhere she turns.

When news arrives that the Hydra virus might not be as dead as they’d thought, the group is pushed into an uneasy alliance with Cartaxus to hunt down Lachlan and fix the vaccine. Their search takes them to Entropia, a city of genehackers hidden deep in the desert that could also hold the answers about Cat’s past that she’s been searching for.

But when confronted with lies and betrayals, Cat is forced to question everything she knows and everyone she trusts. And while Lachlan is always two steps ahead, the biggest threat to Cat may be the secrets buried in her own mind.